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Hey Keith, you're in luck! Tomlin's lesson this week is on making your practice time effective. He's got awesome tips, and guess what tip #1 is--record yourself. You were asking about this earlier, so looks like you're on the right track. Anyway, see what you think. Here's the link...
I've rarely played scales either, I have little time and even less discipline...
I do agree that your sessions need to be fun, and playing tunes will help do that.
What I tried to do over time was make sure I play a range of tunes that cover most notes on the harmonica. I began to realise that I was learning subconsciously which hole produced which note.
Volume issue aside, it's a sensible move to practice on a cheaper instrument. It will get more wear and tear, and as your technique improves you will better appreciate the more professional instrument.
Yes it could be a bit confusing, but you are bending the reed down further than normal, not the note.
Thanks for your input folks.
I didn't want to overdo it, but I think I should perhaps spend a bit longer each session.
I tried yesterday first with the Swan then with the CX12 & the Swan is definately quieter.
(So, think I shall stick with the Swan for practicing until I can 'play' the tunes.)
I do sometimes run through the scales, but obviously prefer to try & play a tune.
It's been on my mind as it did confuse me for quite a while and still seems a bit of an oxymoron.
For years I never really got the idea of where "down' was .
But if we are running a major scale from 1-4 we have to hit a bent note two different times.... ideally nice and clean.
If I'm using a C ...harp the lowest note 1 blow is middle C...any notes I will bend won't go below middle C on that Harp,
2 double bend draw will be above middle C if i want lower than that keys G till C would be lower and keys D till F# will be higher
( 1 draw bent will always be higher than the 1 exhale on any of the harps if i have it right
I know there are specialty harps and overblows and what not so I'm talking traditional straight from the box 10 hole diatonics)
So if we run the scale descending we do bend the correct notes to go down the scale.
Going the other way we bend down to go up
Kind of like ..Up the Down Staircase
Just thought I would mention it in case others are also trying to keep it all straight in their heads...
Do whatever version you like. I'm still working on an interpretation so Sydney Bechet's interpretation (soprano sax). That too ends on -3**. Just can't get that bend properly in this though.
Some great entries so far, well done everyone.
I'm tempted to at least give it a shot, and if it works out well enough I may even post it...
I've been watching the Tomlin Leckie video and transcribed those tabs; they're slightly different to the version in the original post. They are as follows:
5 4 5 -4 4 -4 5 4 -3’’ 2
Sum-mer-time and the liv-ing is ea-sy
5 4 -4 -4 4 -3’’ 4 -3’’ 4 -3
The fish are jump-ing and the cot-ton is high
5 4 5 5 5 -4 4 -4 5 4 -3’’ 2
Your dad-dy is rich, and your ma is good look-ing
2 -2 2 -2 -3’’ 4 5 -4 4 -3’’
So hush lit-tle ba-by, don’t you cry.
I plan to try this version, mainly to practice hitting those bends.
Depends on what you are trying to achieve with the RBM, if you are looking to get more volume
and decrease feedback, I would suggest tube swaps in the pre-amp section. The tubes that are
in there now are 12AX7's which have a gain factor of 100. Lower gain tubes such as 12AU7, 12AT7
will decrease the feed back bugga-boo. To fatten up your bottom end you can try short bottle 6L6's.
I play a 71 Super Reverb for large venues (Or TOO loud guitarists) and use short bottle TADS 6L6's
(TAD is "Tube Amp Doctor). I used to have the pre-amp section tubed down with lower gain pre-amp
tubes to cut feedback, I have just recently re-tubed the amp with 12AX7's, as I like the full tone of the
amp. Now to cut feedback I use my mic's volume control and dial it in at 40-60 percent. Your Bassman
would sound great with a Lone Wolf Blues Company *Harp Break, a pedal designed for harmonica
that boosts the low end and low mid frequencies to give you that distorted sound you get from a small
overdriven 5-10 watt class A amp. I use one of these pedals on all my amps, and when I play with a
country band I work with, I go directly into the P.A. to give myself a bit of a dirtier distorted tone. I swear by
this pedal, and I am no way affiliated with Lone Wolf, just a very satisfied customer. They cost about what a
total tube swap would run you, but the sweet part is if you are unsatisfied in any way you can return it within
60 days for a refund minus shipping and 4% credit card processing charge. If I had it to do all over again
I would try the pedal first, to avoid any changes to the amp.
Welcome to the HC!
Regards, Reed Smith
I have noticed that since I started to learn tongue blocking, faster melodies are more tricky - plus the tone is kinda less distinct. I try to articulate with my diaphragm, though it's not nearly as crisp as tongue articulation.
If I have a choice, I will switch from tongue block to pucker as suits the piece best.
HI Keith, I go out playing with a key board backing once a week, and three guitarists backing and a singer once a week.I only play three tunes.I have to make a list so as they can pick the ones they know,and the other night out is running my Harmonica Club.However the rest of the nights I practice for one hour every night,from six until seven.I still make many mistakes but disguise them with improvisation.I have a very long list of tunes which I run through,and pay special attention to the middle eight of the tune,because normally this is the hardest part.The main thing is to try tongue blocking in order to obtain the single notes,some players find it fairly difficult to do,but with perseverance it will work out.Practice one line of the tune and keep at it until it becomes second nature.It does help if you can practice your scales,starting from hole one or five or nine in the key of"C" Mind you it is very boring,but it does help.The main thing is,that if you can't read music like myself,you must know the tune you are playing like the back of your hand,you will then be able to follow the tabs with confidence.Good Luck Eric 33.
Sounds like you have a good routine so far Keith.
If you can spare more time that's always good, but I find that regular daily sessions are best, even if they are short ones (most of my practice sessions are while waiting for the bus!)
I wouldn't get hung up on how long things might take. Focus on embouchure and rhythm first, thereafter your song learning will be much more rewarding.
It shouldn’t take too long before you can get through tunes, but when you’re asking about “really playing”, I bet you’re talking about translating those notes on the page into music. Even simple tunes can be made to sound really amazing when you put personality into your playing through certain techniques and ornamentation. This is what I spend my time practicing. I try to find someone’s playing that I really admire and pick out the parts I want to imitate. Then I figure out where I can put those techniques into other tunes I know.
A great beginner tune is this month’s Hard Times Come Again No More. The tune has no bent notes and sounds really good played slowly. You will love it. There is no time limit on the songs. I hope people will keep adding to them long after the month is over. It’s just called Song-of-the-Month because each month there is a new choice.
I will always have a folk selection each month. Most of these are pretty straight forward. Send me any suggestions you want in the vote.
Just found this thread - I started a chromatic thread under hardware when I couldn't find one, so that makes 2 now.
So, just bringing this to the attention of any one who hasn't found it yet.
My 'collection' consists of a Hohner Chrometta14, CX12, & a Swan 1040, (bought in that order).
I tend to 'play' the Swan the most, although I'm just a beginner, it works for me.
I am still new to harmonicas & I was wondering how long I should practice at any one time.
I tend to just run through a couple of tunes a couple of times each time I practice.
What do you think, is this the best way to learn to play, or should each 'session' be longer?
Also, how long does it take to be able to 'play' tunes, (how long before you thought you could play)?
I did a search and came up with this from the Fender forum - forums.fender.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=71058
What harps do you like? Only diatonic or do you also play chromatic? Bass? Chord? Octave?
Welcome to the Club. You're seeing the latest incarnation of it. Previously we had over ten thousand members. Started to get a LOT of spamming and the proprietor had to make changes to the site. The spirit of harp runs strong through all of it
Good to have you here and I hope we can help in any way.
Be Blues...And Jazz,
Suave Blues Man
Yes, I will try using my camera when I think it reasonable time to try recording.
(I'm still at the stage of getting my embouchure right & trying to hit the right holes.)
My 'playing' is very 'laboured' just now, but I'm thinking it will show me if I'm improving, (or not).
Very nice, in looks & sound.
I love the sound of the CX12, which I managed to get at a decent price, but thought it might be a bit too loud for practicing on hence the little Swan, however, I'm finding my lips sticking on the metal mouthpiece.
I also find the Chrometta mouthpiece somewhat peculiar & don't understand why Hohner should think it better for a beginner.
My N+1 is most likely going to be a CX12 LC/tenor, which is what I had intended to get when the C came up.